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whom we now argue, the elect and faithful always persevered in grace unto the end.

If it be yet demanded, But do not those words, “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever;" as also those, “ I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me," plainly imply their final perseverance ? I answer;

1. That these words, “that they shall not depart from me,” savour too much of the translation ; the original would rather have them thus, “ that they may not depart from me," as the translators also themselves render words of the same character in the former

“And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever.” And thus both Arias Montanus, * and Junius and Tremellius also render them.

2. The words thus read do not necessarily import the actual event or taking place of the effect intended by God in the promise, and his performance thereof, but only his intention itself in both these, together with the sufficiency and aptness of what he promiseth, for the producing of such an effect in them. As when our Saviour expressed himself thus unto the Jews, “ But these things I say, that ye might be saved,” John v. 34; he did not suppose that they either would or should be infallibly saved, by means of what he spake, for a few verses after, speaking still to the same persons, he saith, “ And ye will not come to me that ye might have life;" but he declared, that the real desire and intent of his heart and soul, in speaking to them as he did, was, that they might be saved; and · withal, that the words which he spake to them were such as by the due minding and hearkening whereunto they might and should have been saved. There is the same consideration of what God said unto Adam : “ Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat ?" Gen. iii. 11. It cannot be inferred from hence that Adam did not eat of this tree, for we all too well know that he did eat thereof, but only that the intent and scope of God's commandment unto him concerning this tree was, that he should not eat thereof. See what was lately and more largely observed touching such expressions as these, page 302 of this chapter.

3. The certainty of the continuance of the external and civil prosperity of the Jewish nation, might much more colourably be concluded from sundry passages in this promissory contexture of Scripture than the certainty of their perseverance in grace from those mentioned. For here God promiseth that he will do thus and thus by them, “ for the good of them and of their children after them,” verse 39. And again, that he “will make an everlasting covenant with them, that he will not turn away from them to do them good; that he will rejoice over them to do them good, and will plant them in that their land assuredly, with his whole heart and with

* Et timorem meum dabo in corde eorum pro non recedere desuper me : in the margin ; ut non recedant a me.- Arius Mon. Which latter words the other two borrow from this author for their translation.

his whole soul,” verses 40, 41. And yet we know, that all these promises and engagements on God's part notwithstanding, God since the making of them, hath turned away from them, and that in greater displeasure than ever before ; yea, and that, as the apostle saith, "his wrath is come upon them to the uttermost,” 1 Thess. ii. 16; and they are accordingly at this day the most contemptible and miserable nation under heaven. This plainly showeth that all these promises were conditional, though no condition appears in mention, and the performance of them intentionally suspended upon their good behaviour and obedience to him that made them. See more upon this account in the premises. If then the temporal promises running along in the same current of discourse with spiritual, and much more assertively expressed than these, were conditional, and have suffered a non-performance through a non-performance of the condition intended; why may we not suppose the spiritual promises also to be subject to the same law? Nay certainly,

4. Had the spiritual promises been merely positive and unconditioned, the temporal would have been such also, at least they had not been obnoxious to a non-performance. For had God actually, and with effect, given them one heart and one way, so that they had actually feared him for ever, or put his fear in their hearts upon any such terms, that they had not departed from him, questionless all the temporal promises had brought forth; God would not have turned away from them to do them good, and their children after them, but would have rejoiced over them to do them good, would have planted them in their land, &c.

5. That expression in the said passages, “ And I will make an everlasting covenant with them,” plainly supposeth that the whole contexture of promises therein was but conditional, it being the nature and property of a covenant never to engage one party alone, but both, or all comprised in it; and when one party refuseth to make good the terms imposed thereby upon him, to disoblige and free the other. Therefore,

6, and lastly, The true and clear intent and meaning of the spiritual promises made unto the people of the Jews, now in captivity, in the Scripture in hand, and particularly of the expressions last objected, is this : “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever; and will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not (or may not) depart from me," i. e. I will deal so above measure graciously and bountifully with them, as well in matters relating to their spiritual condition, as in things which concern their outward condition, that if they be not prodigiously refractory, stubborn, and unthankful, I will overcome their evil with my goodness, will cause them to own me for their God; and will reduce them as one in to a loving and loyal frame and temper of heart towards me, that they shall willingly, and with a full and free purpose of heart, fear and serve me for ever. To secure this interpretation, 1. That is to be remembered which hath been offered to consi

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deration already, viz., That it is the frequent and familiar dialect of Scripture, to ascribe the doing of things, or the effects themselves, unto those, whether God or men, who either minister occasion, or afford proper or likely means or endeavours for the doing of them, whether ever they be actually effected or no. A pleasant number of instances in this kind you shall find drawn together elsewhere. Repetitions are needless where primitives are at hand. According to this kind of expression, God may be said to give men one heart and one way, that, &c., and so to put his fear into their hearts, that, &c., when he vouchsafeth and exhibiteth such motives, means, and opportunities unto them, which are efficacious and proper to work them to such a frame and disposition of heart and soul, out of which men are wont firmly to resolve, to love, serve, and obey him for ever, whether they be actually wrought or brought hereunto or no. In this sense it is easy to conceive when and how the said promises were performed or fulfilled, as, viz. to a good degree in, upon, and soon after that famous deliverance out of their seventy years' captivity, God hereby, as by many other signal mercies vouchsafed unto them soon after their return, about the repairing of their city and temple, as likewise by the effectual ministry of several great prophets raised up amongst them from time to time, mightily engaging them all to devote themselves unto him and his service for ever: but more fully and gloriously, when the great Messiah was sent unto them in the flesh, by whose unparalleled holiness in life and conversation, together with his frequent and wonderful miracles, and especially by his doctrine, so full of heavenly authority, light, and power, they were not only compelled into such an heart, and such a way, wherewith, and wherein, to have feared (i. e., to have religiously served and obeyed) him for ever. Insomuch, that proving such apostates, as they wilfully became, under such transcendent means as they had, to have rendered them the best and most faithful people under heaven unto their God, they declared themselves to be the most stiff-necked and rebellious generation of men in all the world; and were judged by God accordingly. Take any other sense of the promises or words now in question, especially that which is so much contended for, and which imports a final perseverance in grace to be wrought in this people by the irresistible hand of God; and it will be impossible for any man to find so much as by probable conjecture, when, or how, they should ever be fulfilled. To say, that they might, even in that sense, which I so much oppose, be fulfilled constantly in the elect of this people, is to say that which reason will gainsay. For, 1. An absolute or unconditioned promise, made to a great number of men, cannot be said to be fulfilled, when the thing promised is exhibited only to some few of them. Now the promises under debate were clearly made to the whole body or nation of the Jews, (as we have formerly proved from the express context,) and not to the elect only amongst them. 2. According to their judgments, who plead the fulfilling of them in this sense,

the persons for whose sakes and comfort they were made, the elect, might, yea, must needs have had every whit as much comfort without them, as they could have with or by them. For they knew, before the making of any of these promises to them, that, being elect, and once in a state of grace, they should persevere therein unto the end. And thus these great and signal promises of God shall be rendered void, and mere impertinences unto those, for whose sake only they are supposed to have been made. 3, and lastly, to say they were fulfilled in the elect, in the sense gainsaid, is to beg the question, instead of digging for it.

2. The Scriptures many times assert the futurity, or coming to pass of things not yet in being, not only when the coming of them to pass is certain, or certainly known unto God, but upon a probability only, or likelihood of their coming to pass, in respect of means used, or to be used, for the bringing of them to pass. Upon this account, God himself is represented by our Saviour in his parable of the vineyard, as speaking thus, in the person of the lord of the vineyard, “ They will reverence my son,” Matt. xii. 6, in case I shall vouchsafe to send him unto them. And yet the event showed that they were so far from reverencing him, that when he came to them, “ they took him, and slew him, and cast him out of the vineyard.” So when he saith, upon occasion of the punishment, which he commandeth to be inflicted upon the man that should “do presumptuously, that all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously,” Deut. xvii. 12, 13. He doth not speak it out of any certainty of knowledge in him, that it would, or should, actually so come to pass, (for many, doubtless, of this people did not so fear, as to forbear doing presumptuously, notwithstanding the exemplariness of such a punishment,) but because the severe and thorough execution of justice in this kind, was a proper and probable means to restrain all sorts of persons amongst them from the like sins. See page 302 of this chapter. In this notion and idiom of Scripture, also, God may say, "I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever," not out of a certainty of knowledge, or determination in himself, that any such heart, or way, should actually, and with effect, be given unto them, which would infallibly produce such an effect in them, as is here specified; but because he was purposed so to entreat them, and to afford such excellent administrations of his grace and Spirit unto them, which should be very pregnant, proper, and efficacious, to create such an heart in them, and to put them into such a way, that they should never have declined from his worship and service, whilst the sun and moon endure. This answer, I acknowledge, is of much affinity with the former. Therefore,

3, and lastly, that no such sense was intended by God in the words or promises yet under consideration, which imports any certainty of a final perseverance in grace, in those to whom they are spoken and made, fully appears from all those prophetical passages

and predictions in the Old Testament, which are many in number, and very plain and pregnant in import, wherein that sad breach, which afterwards happened between God and this people, to whom these promises were made, and which amounted even to a rejection of them from being any longer a people unto him, is foretold by him. For that God should absolutely promise such an heart unto a people, which should infallibly cause them to fear him for ever, and not to depart from him; and yet withal prophesy the great and general apostasy of this people from him, and their rejection, upon that account, by him, doubtless lieth not within the verge of any man's belief, who takes any competent care what he believeth. I trust, the Scripture now last opened, will from henceforth be put to no more trouble, about any contribution of aid towards the maintenance of the doctrine of absolute perseverance.

Some other Scriptures possibly there may be, besides those inquired into in this chapter, wherein some may imagine the treasure of such a perseverance to be hid; but these which we have strictly examined upon the matter, have still been counted the pillars of that doctrine ; and yet, as we have seen, are no supporters of it. Nor do I question, but that by those unquestionable principles and rules of interpretation, by which the mind of God in the Scriptures discussed in this chapter, hath been brought into a clear light, all seeming compliance that way in others also, may be reduced: and so the wisdom, which hath been revealed from heaven, perfectly acquitted from all interposure by way of countenance on the behalf of the commonly-taught doctrine of perseverance. Two texts I call to mind at present which are sometimes called in to the assistance of the doctrine of perseverance hitherto opposed, and have not received answer in this chapter. The former is Matt. vii. 18; the latter, Rom. xi. 29. But for this latter, it hath been sufficiently handled upon another account, Chap. viii. page 224. As to the former, we shall, I conceive, have occasion to speak in the second part of this discourse. We now proceed to the examination of such arguments and grounds otherwise, upon which the said doctrine, in some men's eyes, stands impregnable.

CHAPTER XI. A further continuation of the former digression, wherein the argu

ments and grounds commonly alleged in defence of the received doctrine of Perseverance, are detected of insufficiency, proved, and declared null.

We shall begin with that which is the first-born of the strength of our adversaries in this kind. “ That,” say they," which God hath promised in his word is certain, and shall take place, against all opposition and contradiction whatsoever. But God hath promised in his word that all true believers shall both totally and

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